Genteel Racism at Liberal Conspiracy And Cranks Around Up

We tend to think of anti-Jewish sentiment as coming from the Far Right, yet nowadays it is fairly common to find examples of it on liberal or left wing web sites. It is not overt or blunt as found amongst the extreme racists, but there are tell-tale signs: conspiracy theories and strange terminology.

Some posters at Liberal Conspiracy indulge in such activities without a moment’s recrimination or actions from the site’s moderators or post’s author.

I am not surprised that racists mount their pathetic hobbyhorses, rather that the non-racists who read that material at Liberal Conspiracy can’t see a problem or are willing to let it go unchallenged. If I were charitable I might conclude that most at Liberal Conspiracy don’t understand racism, and in particular anti-Jewish racism.

Snap 2013-03-30 at 15.38.33

Shorter version: maligning Israelis and Jews gives the game away. Particularly if there is a pejorative reference to the “Chosen”, or consciously linking to Rense, a site which proffers conspiracy theories, anti-Jewish racism and approvingly advertises David Duke.

This is not an isolated incident at Liberal Conspiracy as I have covered such poor behaviour before.

Even George Orwell spotted this form of usage in the post war period.

In an under reported topic on the British media, Asiya Islam looks at discrimination faced by Muslims, as seen by five women:
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Racism And The UCU

Having followed events in the AUT and UCU for years I find this disheartening in the 21st century:

“Mr Julius said the EUMC definition of antisemitism that the union rejected last year had been used successfully by other organisations. The National Union of Students, he said, had used it to bar speakers with a history of antisemitism from appearing on campuses.

Yet UCU activist Sue Blackwell had claimed the definition was “not fit for purpose”, he said. Mr Julius said it was a matter of regret that Ms Blackwell had not been called by the union to give evidence to the tribunal.

He said Ms Blackwell had treated Mr Fraser as a “figure of fun” after he spoke during the congress debate last year at which the definition was rejected.

“Absolutely not,” said Ms Hunt. “Jewish members spoke on both sides of the debate. Congress listened very quietly to what Ronnie Fraser had to say. I thought it was a brave speech to have made.”

On Monday, John Mann MP told the tribunal that the union had refused to accept the report of the 2006 All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism. Cross-examined by the UCU’s lawyer Antony White QC, Mr Mann said he had been “gobsmacked” when union representatives, including Ms Hunt, had refused to discuss antisemitism during a meeting in Parliament in 2006.

“The disappointment with UCU is that they were not even properly engaged,” he said.

The tribunal heard its final evidence, after two and a half weeks, on Wednesday. The panel is unlikely to deliver its judgment before the end of the year. “

Also read the tipping point for UCU at Engage.

Times Higher Education on UCU

Last week the Times Higher Education had a leader on the University and College Union and its problems, many of which are self inflicted:

“For most university staff, the role of a trade union is first and foremost to secure members a good deal on pay and conditions, and second to ensure that their sector is run in the public interest – as was spelled out in a 2008 report written for the University and College Union by Jeremy Waddington, professor of industrial relations at the University of Manchester. Unfortunately for higher education staff, some members of the UCU’s national executive seem to view its primary purpose as bringing down the capitalist system or otherwise grandstanding in pursuit of impossible political goals.

The most notable example is the obsession with Israel. In the past, members at the UCU annual congress have supported resolutions calling for an academic boycott of Israel, which have been dismissed as illegal by the union on legal advice; this year, members voted to reject the European Union Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia’s working definition of anti-Semitism. None of this has persuaded Israel to withdraw to its pre-1967 borders.

What it has done is create negative publicity for the UCU, here and around the world, and cause the resignation from the union of dozens of Jewish and non-Jewish members in protest. A recent swipe came from Nick Cohen in The Jewish Chronicle, who wrote that “[the union] – which represents intellectuals and so, inevitably, is the dumbest and nastiest organisation on the Left – refuses to accept any definition of anti-Semitism for fear that defining prejudice would restrict its attacks on Israel”.

Whatever one’s views on Israel and its treatment of the Palestinians, it is hard to argue that the UCU’s stance has paid off politically or furthered the workplace interests of its members.”

If anything it understates the nature of the problems in UCU.

Not A Single Post

I had intended to separate out a few different posts on various subjects, but now is as good as any time to put them all together.

Left Foot Forward covers how the ill named, English Democrats, are happy to take ex-BNP racists as members.

Liverpool antifascists remind us how neo-Nazis still pose a real threat.

Foreign Policy has an amusing post on the peculiar habits of dictators, and what they hoard.

David Allen Green at the New Statesman shreds St Paul’s Cathedral’s feeble excuse for closing.

In more religious news, a Catholic Archbishop indulges in a bit of Jew baiting.

Earlier this month, the convicted Holocaust denying reactionary Bishop Richard Williamson took another swing at Jews, although from the Guardian’s rather anodyne coverage you wouldn’t know that. The Vatican insider explains the background in more detail, but you get the impression they themselves are ambivalent remarking that Williamson’s “positions are extreme even within the traditionalist world, they are certainly not isolated even within the Lefebvrist community itself. “

Meanwhile in Germany, the Catholic Church has apparently been profiting from pornography according to an article at Worldcrunch. Who would have thought it? First, antisemitism, now pornography, whatever next?

In the JC, David Aaronovitch deals with some nasty subconscious thinking by his fellow journalist, Deborah Orr.

Rob Marchant writes, Anti-Semitism is the new black, showing the worrying level of denial of anti-Jewish racism in the trade union movement.

The comments box at the New Statesman confirms how timely Rob’s article was. I can’t help remembering how many once loyal trade unionists resigned from UCU over institutionalised racism in that union, Engage has more.

Norm on Orr’s an apology of sorts. I really liked his first piece on it, opening with “You may think you’ve plumbed the depths of human stupidity and blind prejudice, but you never have.”

Finally, my own word of advice to those Westerners “interested” in Middle Eastern topics.

If you don’t want to be thought of as a bigot or racist then try and avoid using Far Right terminology such as “Chosen”, etc.

Better still, educate yourself on how the Far and Extreme Right use these topics and take extra, extra care.